United Soccer League introduces pronoun uniforms


Jerseys are premier communication tools in sports, providing a colorful and noisy avenue for expressing core beliefs and messages through a product on the pitch.

United Soccer League is taking this tool to the next level on International Pronoun Day, announcing its Pronoun Count Pack as part of a larger effort to engender LGBTQ and gender inclusion and acceptance. various.

The Pronoun Number Pack introduces new number designs on USL Team Kits that incorporate various pronouns into the numbers. Patterns include ‘he / him’, ‘she / she’ and ‘they / them’ as well as combinations of the three, lining the inside of the numbers in gender-affirming messages that encompass a wide range of gender identities.

The move makes USL perhaps the first professional sports league to implement pronouns in its jersey designs, a fact that Lizze Seedhouse, USL senior vice president and head of the league’s Forever Proud project, is proud.

“We wanted to do something that recognizes people of all genders because they should be recognized,” Seedhouse told Outsports. “There are many common misconceptions about gender identity and how people of diverse genders define themselves, including those who identify with multiple gender markers. We want to show that pronouns are important and create a gender affirming atmosphere at USL.

Founded in April 2021, Forever Proud has developed programs and resources within USL aimed at raising awareness of LGBTQ causes and fostering a commitment to inclusion as the league continues to grow.

International Pronouns Day is one of the key dates that Seedhouse, which itself is part of the LGBTQ community, wanted to highlight in the league’s continued push to build a more welcoming environment for LGBTQ fans and players. .

USL made such a statement in their handling of then-Pheonix Rising player Junior Flemmings after making homophobic comments to San Diego Loyal’s Collin Martin, the league’s only gay male player, during a game last year. Seedhouse felt hurt when this happened, but the league took responsibility to Martin and the LGBTQ community at large by being outspoken in its action.

The new jersey numbers will be available for all USL teams from academy level through to the USL Championship and the USL W League, the revived USL women’s league starting next year. Teams have the option of using the included kits for any game throughout the season and also have the option of offering them for sale to fans in various capacities.

When using the kits, players will have the choice of wearing any pronouns they want, either their own signifiers or a collection of some or all of the available options.

Pack of numbers of pronouns

This flexibility is important in Seedhouse’s mind as it gives teams in different parts of the country where acceptance of LGBTQ, trans, and gender diverse identities may not be as pervasive the opportunity to join the conversation. and make a statement in favor of these communities.

For Seedhouse, this gives clubs “a space to work” while continuing to “break down barriers”.

Seedhouse also celebrated the Pronoun Numbers Pack as another avenue for raising awareness that can have an “individual impact” for all fans. It represents the league’s continued commitment to actively championing the LGBTQ community, something Seedhouse took to heart from the start.

“We wanted to avoid just changing a social media profile picture or a rainbow logo, as USL’s commitment to creating more welcoming spaces for LGBTQ communities is not superficial,” said Seedhouse. “With that, of course, comes the responsibility to continue to do substantive work and uphold those values ​​throughout the league.”

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